Friday, June 25, 2010

Renowned Desert Water Historian to Speak at PURE

Dr. Elizabeth von Till Warren, Ph.D, has joined the Organizing Committee and will be a featured speaker at the Global PURE Water Expo.

A preeminent expert on the history of water development in the Mojave Desert and Las Vegas, Dr. von Till Warren was founder and president of Friends of Big Springs, formed in 1997 to continue her decades-long work in preserving the original Las Vegas springs from development.  The group was the predecessor of the Las Vegas Springs Foundation.  Big Springs itself became the Springs Preserve

"This is the last best place in Las Vegas," says Elizabeth Warren, president of the Friends of Big Springs committee. Her husband, [Dr. Claude Warren], an archaeologist, excavated the area in 1972.

"In 1978, Big Springs was placed on the National Register of Historic Places after [Warren's] discovery of pottery, arrowheads, and milling stones dating back 8,000 years on part of the site. But the historic designation alone won't save the land [one historian] says.

"Ms. Warren, who has battled for 30 years to preserve the site, agrees. An important factor weighing in the balance, she says, is the story the land has to tell."

- Christian Science Monitor, March 3, 1999

"Dr. Claude Warren of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas conducted an archaeological survey in 1972 that found long-term human occupation of the site.

"His discoveries helped reroute the new Oran K. Gragson Expressway (US 95)"

- Springs Preserve 2010

Dr. Elizabeth von Till Warren's 2001 Ph.D Dissertation, "The History of Las Vegas Springs: A Disappeared Resource," chronicled the boom and bust of water development in the Southern Nevada Mojave Desert, from 1844 to the late 20th century.   She has developed, designed or significantly contributed to area exhibits at virtually all historical water resources in southern Nevada, including Valley Fire State ParkTule Springs, Goodsprings, Spring Mountain Ranch, Clark County Wetlands Park, the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort, the Old Spanish Trail Park and Las Vegas Springs, where Las Vegas began.

"Like gravity and the runoff through the Wash, Liz has always been a "force of nature" herself!"

- Desert Wetlands Conservancy

Her upcoming book, "Big Spring:  Buried Secret of the Land of No Limit," (University of Nevada Reno Press) is an amazing record of wild west water development in Las Vegas, and the ultimate disappearance of the powerful springs and life-sustaining creek which originally attracted ancient and modern settlers to what became Las Vegas. The ruthless double dealing, duals, murder, malfeasance, over-development and feuding which punctuate the history of Las Vegas water development, as well as the obvious successes, will surely bring light to water issues in parts of the world now in earlier development stages.

Dr. von Till Warren's talk will chronicle some of the history, and compare the events to those of present day in developing nations.  Many of the sites discussed will be available for tour, including the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort, which is adjacent to the venue.

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